Syd­ney taps seam gas

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Clean Energy -

COAL seam meth­ane nat­u­ral gas is a fuel with a low car­bon foot­print. It pro­vides a low- cost, eco­nomic tran­si­tion en­ergy source.

John Saun­ders, chair­man of Syd­ney Gas which runs a project at Cam­den, out­side Syd­ney, says coal seam gas is ex­pected to pro­vide an in­creas­ing pro­por­tion of the nat­u­ral gas sup­ply to the east coast of Aus­tralia. He says in­de­pen­dent in­dus­try com­men­ta­tors be­lieve that by 2020 this could be as much as 50 per cent of gas.

Saun­ders be­lieves the Cam­den project will be im­por­tant for the NSW econ­omy. It will give com­mu­ni­ties, busi­ness and in­dus­try ac­cess to com­pet­i­tively priced gas and the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate more jobs and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. At the same time, gas ex­trac­tion does not in­ter­fere with nor­mal uses of the land.

Cur­rently, Cam­den gen­er­ates al­most 5 per cent of cur­rent gas con­sump­tion in NSW and eases the heavy reliance on gas from Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia.

A sig­nif­i­cant in­no­va­tion in Cam­den is the re­cent prov­ing up of ‘‘ sur­face to in seam’’ ( SIS) wells, which ap­ply hor­i­zon­tal drilling tech­niques to ac­cess gas up to 1500m from the sur­face lo­ca­tion. Through a sin­gle well gas from a large ge­o­graph­i­cal area can be drained. This re­duces the num­ber of sur­face lo­ca­tions and ac­cesses acreage that might oth­er­wise be off- lim­its be­cause of dif­fi­cult ter­rain.

Coal seam gas is an im­por­tant en­vi­ron­men­tal en­ergy re­source, gen­er­at­ing 50 per cent less green­house emis­sions than con­ven­tional coal elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion.

The Cam­den gas project is a 50- 50 joint ven­ture be­tween Syd­ney Gas and AGL En­ergy . It op­er­ates un­der four pe­tro­leum pro­duc­tion li­cences cov­er­ing 207 sq km. The plant at Rosalind Park has the ca­pac­ity to han­dle 26 ter­ra­joules per day - po­ten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant growth in fu­ture sales of nat­u­ral gas for Syd­ney Gas.

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